By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Relevant stakeholders in the education sector have thrown their weight behind two bills seeking the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Trust Fund and Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund.
At a public hearing on the bills organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Youth Development on Thursday, the stakeholders said establishing the trust fund will help curtail the rate of unemployment.
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Titled “Bill for an Act to establish the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund and a Bill for an Act to make provision for the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund, both bills were sponsored by Hon. Samuel Akinfolarin and Hon. Farah Dagogo respectively.
In his presentation, the Director-General NYSC, Maj. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim said the Trust Fund will make corp members self-reliant.
Also speaking, a former Governor of Edo State, Osunbor Oserheimen also supported the bill.
“This Bill is commendable and I support its passage by the National Assembly. Nevertheless, I urge this Committee to pay particular attention to the sourcing and utilisation of funds part of which I have addressed. This is to avoid the abuses that have been associated in recent times with Trust Funds by officials who see them as slush funds to feed their avarice. This calls for caution in order that the good intention behind this Bill is not defeated,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman House Committee on Youth Development, Hon. Yemi Adaramodu said the bills crystalize development in the youths.
Declaring the hearing open earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila represented by the leader of the House said both bills sought to create opportunities for economic and social advancement for the youths.
He said “Both Bills, in their own way, seek to create opportunities for economic and social advancement for young people by offering skills acquisition opportunities and providing access to capital to actualise entrepreneurial ambitions. These are both laudable objectives. The NYSC trust fund Bill recognises that the NYSC is a significant cost centre for the Federal Government of Nigeria. And at a time of competing priorities dwindling resources, the Corps may not be sustainable in its present form.
“The Bill is an attempt to begin an essential and long-overdue conversation about the future of the National Youth Service Corps and the options for reforming the Corps so that in whatever form it continues to exist, it serves the best interests of our beloved country. I believe, and I have expressed this belief in different fora, that the most pressing public policy question of our time is how to ensure the economic, political, and social future of the teeming number of young people in the country.
“How do we build an economy that provides enough well-paying jobs and ensure that young people are adequately represented in the arena where political decisions are made? As legislators, we must continue to strive to find answers to these questions. But we must also be innovative in the proposals we make and the alternatives we consider for reform. Particularly, we must be circumspect in our consideration of proposals that impose a permanent obligation on limited public funds when we are borrowing heavily to meet the basic obligations of government”, he said.